Saturday, August 22, 2009

As I was saying....

The sunlight streams through the slightly chilly breeze and I make my way up the steps through the ornate carved doorway into the church. As I move forward, I notice the dreadlocked ma, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt of doubtful cleanliness, standing just within the portico, outside the door, who grins and says "Morning brother"in a patois tinged tone, as he clasps his hand in front of him in a mock- approximation of what Presidents do, while listening to their peers at a bilateral press conference.

I pause at the doorway to collect the Order of Srvice from a grinning usher and just then hear some commotion at the door behind me. An African family have just arrived and Dreadlocks, my friend is objecting loudly to the teenage son entering the church with as he puts it "his trousers around his ankles". The parents stride ahead pretending they have nothing to do with the boy, and the boy tries to do the same, but Dreads is having none of it, he chases after him, up the aisle, almost into the main body of the church, and finally, the boy, defeated, pulls up his trousers, sparing the congregation the sight of his striped boxers, while his sisters titter and the first bars of the opening hymn ring out.....

News that the londonpaper is to close fills me with a sense of glee, perhaps, now the other free evening paper, London Lite which seemed to have been set up in direct competition to thelondonpaper will also now close and all our train carriages, stations and streets will be the cleaner for it. Besides it will be good to enter a station on the way from work without first having to run the gauntlet of vendors pressing the rival papers insistently on you.... I do feel sad for the vendors, who mostly appeared to be from the Indian sub-continent or African-whether this was a planned recruitment strategy or merely the function of relatively poor pay, I never knew. Now they will have to find new arduous immigrant work in the straitened economic times. I wonder if it will also affect the cleaners as there will be a lot less rubbish to pick up...

In Nigeria, the ripples from the closure of some of the 5 biggest banks continue. In the Financial Times this morning, I read that the EFCC is now to go after the internal and external auditors of the banks in question. Will this be the Nigerian Enron? Hardly, knowing how my beloved country operates. It will probably all fizzle out in a few weeks, but the reactions, predictably are amusing- there are the usual insinuations about ethnic sentiment on the part of the Central Bank Governor. So he, northern prince of Kano that he is, is for instance, accused of a vendetta against Southern banks. Yet of the 25 banks left standing, only 1 could at best be described as a Northern bank. So isn't it inevitable that the numbers of those culled would reflect this? Then there are the "It is the work of my jealous enemies" group, insisting that they shall be vindicated, seeing as they are holy people. Reading some of the comments on the scoop breaking NEXTwebsite, I reimagine the crash of Lehman Brothers, Northern Rock and co, this time with the bankers insisting divine justfication and their manicured wives holding nightlong prayer and fasting sessions in their plush 5th Avenue apartments....

I've just finished Sarah Waters book, The Night watch, longlisted for the Booker Prize this year. I enjoyed it, as it was brilliantly evocative of a pivotal era in British history, the immediate post-war period with the decay of many large estates and families. Although it is billed as a ghost story, I didn't find it scary at all, but then that's often the case with me- somehow, a horror film can evoke the sense of fear where a book can't. And yet, I'm often transported to different worlds by books, so there must be something about the failure of my literary imagination.

Next up on my list, a clutch of recent African writing, which to my shame, I have been too busy before now to read. But I have gone to Daunt's and ordered them and this morning will be picking up, in no particular order, Petina Gappah's An Elegy for Easterly a collection of what I am told are jewel-like stories, polished and glittering, set in contemporary Zimbabwe, Chika Unigwe's On Black Sisters Street following 4 Nigerian prostitutes in Belgium, Adaobi Nwaubani's I Do Not Come to You By Chance, probably the first novel on the 419 phenomenon and Brian Chikwava's Harare North, detailing the lives of Zimbabwean immigrants in London, which apparently they call Harare North... By the way, where are the new Nigerian male writers? There's Adichie, Atta, Unigwe,Nwaubani, Shoneyin,Agary on the female side....have we men been rendered voiceless?

Meanwhile across the ocean, poor Brother Barack is under fire as millions of uninsured Americans vociferously attack his plans to give them cover (I read that somehwere, can't remember where, and it made me chuckle. But seriously, the whole debate lays bare the difference in culture between the US and Europe, especially the throwing around of the word "socialist" as if it were a particularly slimy and dangerous thing to be....

So the plan is to resume blogging, once a week, every week, without fail......hope it works, or rather, the demands of the day job permit

9 comments:

Feyikogbon said...

will look forward to next week's supplement. I don't think the loss of one free evening paper is such a great thing. I was hoping the evening standard would be the first to go.

On a separate note though England wins the Ashes and I'm sure thats all we will hear of for the next week...

Ms. Catwalq said...

welcome back my dear. Recession has hit blogville, myself included. I had to stop trolling through other blogs because i felt at the end of the session like I had left a few IQ points behind somewhere.
So, once a week it is.

KemiMamaLopes said...

Welcome back. Kept checking all my web feeds on my phone and am finally rewarded. Glad you are well.

Bemgba Nyakuma said...

Gr8t post yet again. Reading your blog has informed me of some potentially interesting books; On Sisters Black and Harare North. I have just placed on order for them. Thanks for the information.

chika unigwe said...

I hope you enjoy my book ( and the others on your list of course, which I've read and (glad to say) I totally loved).

chika unigwe said...

PS Thanks for plugging my book btw

spoon said...

great reading, thanks. I agree - no regrets for londonpaper or londonlite (both identical and boring) I always prefered Evening Standard and didnt see 50p as a big deal when deciding how to spend my daily hour bus ride to home/work. Of course book would be the best!

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